x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Fifa president hopeful from Qatar rejects corruption claims

The Asian football chief asks for proof before making claims that bribes were paid to influence the 2022 World Cup bid that Qatar won.

LONDON // Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Fifa presidential candidate and Asian football chief, has denied allegations here that Qatar paid bribes to secure the 2022 World Cup.

Two Fifa executive committee members were accused by a British parliamentary committee of accepting $1.5 million (Dh5.5m) in exchange for backing Qatar's successful World Cup bid.

However Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president who hails from Qatar, emphatically denied any bribes had been paid and demanded proof of the allegations.

"I can assure you nothing like this has happened from our side," Bin Hammam was quoted as saying.

"If someone wants to damage reputations like this then they have to provide the proof. You can't just accuse people just like that.

"It didn't happen. It is fine to say something, to try to damage the reputation of somebody but where is the proof?" added Bin Hammam, who is to challenge Fifa President Sepp Blatter at a vote in Zurich on June 1.

The British Parliament's culture, media and sport committee revealed it had been given evidence from The Sunday Times newspaper which implicated African Fifa officials Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast.

The paper claimed to have uncovered evidence indicating both men had received bribes to vote for Qatar, according to lawmakers.

In later testimony, Lord David Triesman, the former head of England's disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign, said four other Fifa members had been guilty of "improper and unethical" behaviour by requesting favours in exchange for support.

Meanwhile, the current Fifa boss Sepp Blatter has promised to crack down and has asked for the British authorities for the proof to be submitted.